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With the season Neemias Queta has put together for the Utah State men’s basketball team, it’s no surprise that accolades are pouring in.

The Aggie center from Barreiro, Portugal, was named an honorable mention All-American on Tuesday by The Associated Press. He was also named the District VIII Player of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and first-team all-District 17 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Last week the junior was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year by the media that cover the league. In the coaches’s all-league awards, Queta was the Defensive Player of the Year and made the all-conference first team and all-defensive team. At the MW Tournament, he made the all-tournament team.

He was also named the National Defensive Player of the Year by BleacherReport.com last week and back in late February was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, given annually to the best defensive player in NCAA Division I basketball.

Queta is the seventh AP All-American in USU history and second in the last three years, joining Sam Merrill (2019), Tai Wesley (2011), Gary Wilkinson (2009), Jaycee Carroll (2007, 2008), Marvin Roberts (1969, 1971) and Wayne Estes (1965). Queta is the second-straight Aggie to earn USBWA District VIII Player of the Year as Merrill earned the award in 2020. He has been named NABC all-District 17 every year with the Aggies, earning second-team honors each of the past two seasons before earning first-team honors this year.

The 7-footer leads the Aggies in scoring, averaging 15.1 points per game, and on the glass, pulling down 10.0 rebounds an outing during the 2020-21 campaign. He finished the year with double-doubles in eight of the final nine games. Queta led the MW and ranks third in the nation with 3.21 blocks per game, setting the all-time record in career blocked shots with 212. He also set a single-game school record with nine blocks against Colorado State during the semifinals of the MW Tournament last Friday. Queta’s 90 blocks on the year surpassed his own single-season school record of 84, set during his freshman year.

Nationally, Queta leads the country in defensive win shares (2.8) and defensive box plus/minus (6.6), and is in the top-20 in total blocks (90, 2nd), double-doubles(15, 4th), total rebounds (281, 6th), total rebounds per game (10.0, 18th) and defensive rebounds per game (7.14, 19th). He leads the MW in field goal percentage (.557), 2-point field goals (162), defensive rebounds (200), total rebounds (281), blocks (90), rebounds per game (10.0), blocks per game (3.2), player efficiency (30.8), effective field goal percentage (.557), defensive rebound percentage (26.8), total rebound percentage (19.0), block percentage (13.0), defensive rating (80.6), win shares (5.6) and box plus/minus (11.9).

In addition to his scoring, rebounding and blocks, Queta is second on the team with 1.1 steals per game and fourth on the team with 2.5 assists per game. He is the only player in the country this season with more than 65 blocks and more than 65 assists, totaling 90 and 71 on the year, respectively.

Queta has led the Aggies to three-straight NCAA Tournament berths, just the second time in school history that USU has earned back-to-back-to-back spots in the Big Dance (2009-11). The Aggies enter the 2021 NCAA Tournament as an 11th-seed and will face sixth-seeded Texas Tech on Friday in Bloomington, Indiana, at 11:45 a.m.

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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